Above: Bassam Arif Al Zarkani pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. (Photo Courtesy Myhighplains.com)
Bassam Arif Al Zarkani, 33, of Dumas, appeared before U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, according to Myhighplains.com.
The online story reports Al Zarkani, who has been in custody since his arrest on a related state charge in April 2015, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set.
According to documents filed in the case, on approximately April 14, Al Zarkani sent a “friend request” to an undercover officer’s Facebook account, and the undercover officer accepted that friend request. Al Zarkani and the undercover officer exchanged messages and in response to Al Zarkani’s inquiry, the undercover officer responded, “single … no kids thank god … im 15.”
The conversation turned sexual, and Al Zarkani sent the undercover officer a sexually explicit photo of himself, and for almost two weeks, Al Zarkani and the undercover officer, whom Al Zarkani believed was a 15-year-old female, sent private messages to each other through Facebook. During the conversations, Al Zarkani warned the undercover officer to keep him a secret from her dad and not tell anyone about him until she is 18 years old. On April 28, a meeting site was established, and Al Zarkani traveled from Dumas to Amarillo, to meet the girl. He was arrested when he arrived at the meeting location.